... and how. Don't know if any of you remember a young Kiwi chick Joanna Baldwin. She was a genuine case of of severe religious child abuse who ran away from home after battling with anorexia and several half-hearted suicide attempts.

Somehow she found us. She posted a brief introduction here explaining her situation and began hanging out regularly on chat. She was extremely naive and horrifyingly ignorant of anything real world, to the point where you would think she was a troll - it was difficult to believe someone like her was real, which is the bit that boiled my blood. Damage like that goes way beyond anything I have encountered, and is not incidental - it is the result of absolute control and manipulation of her reality from the point of her birth. Anyway, she escaped, and for a while seemed like she was beginning to get her shit together. She enrolled and was accepted into a vet nursing course, something she said she really wanted to do.

But then she met a boy. An evangelical boy.

She started popping by less and less frequently, and when she did, you could tell she was getting frazzled and on the verge of losing it again. Said boy and his gang got into the habit of cornering her and hammering her with questions - they knew she had dipped a toe in godless waters, and it became their mission to reclaim her soul. There was more than just a hint of desperation about her when we chatted with her. Her anorexia was in full swing again, and she said she was down to 45kg and getting worried...

I last spoke to her on July 15. Helped her set up her blog and tried to give her some tips on how to deal with religious bullying. She said she had to make a big decision, and didn't know what to do. I didn't meddle, just told her to do what she thought was the best thing for her. The first entry of her blog is here from that same night. After that, she made her decision here, and set it in concrete here. You may want to scrub yourself with turpentine after that last item.

It's out of our hands now. Quite a few folk here did what little they could to help her out, listen patiently to her endless whiny bullshit and try and get her some kind of professional help and guidence. But there is only so much you can do over the ether. She's gone, time to stop worrying about stuff you can't change. Shit happens.

What next ? Possible suicide we'll never hear about. Maybe she'll try to be sane again and return. My bet, the rot will take hold, she'll lose all personality and will, and obediently breed a new generation of victims and the cycle will begin again. Religion is a beautiful thing.

In desperation of mind I texted a few people asking for prayer... soon after that, it was amazing... it was like suddenly I didn't need to think about it anymore and I KNOW God just removed my rational brain, and it became easy to accept Christ. -- Joanna Baldwin: saved, unsaved and saved again.


Tags: abuse, baldwin, jo, joanna, religious child abuse

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Replies to This Discussion


Amazing that an individual can be lost and confused on July 15 and then by July 24 have it totally sorted!

try not to sweat it Felch - this chick is clearly loopy and in a huge rush to believe something...anything...

I read today something like "its more important to want to find out than it is to want to believe" (Bertrand Russell I think - and I'm sure I totally butchered the quote). Sadly, this girl hasnt realised that the questions ticking over in her head plague all of us. Some of us just realise its OK to not know the answers.

This wont be her last belief system - she'll dump calvanism and find something else... ad infinitum.

Love the bit about God removing her rational brain - that's why I keep mine locked away nice and safe!
Matthew: try not to sweat it Felch

Sweat it ? I softened up what I felt like saying. Put it this way - I only care about things I can change. I can't change this one anymore, fill in the rest... While there was chance for this chick coming back to the real world, I did care. Not much. But I did.

Love the bit about God removing her rational brain

Yeah, I had to paste that over. Unbelievable innit ? Out of the mouths of babes...

I don't think your efforts have been wasted. Joanne will probably go in and out of religions throughout her life. She has fallen in love with this next religion's representation of Jesus. When the limerence fades she will look outside of religion again. We aren't a religion so we don't have to win tithe bots. We can play a long game. She looked outside of religion and found good, intelligent people who were prepared to discuss her concerns without judging and hassling her. Joanne will get sick of this religion's controlling rubbish and this boyfriend's overbearing bullying in the fullness of time and come looking for the real world again one day.

It remains to be seen which camp she ultimately falls into but she cannot say that she didn't get willing help and friendship here, from atheist strangers. That is a good result for us. At the risk of being overly soppy, AN says it wants to be a community and you walked the walk. You did your best and represented AN well. You've sowed a seed in her mind. It may take a lifetime to grow or it may never grow. Perhaps her children will have the benefit of a less dogmatic mother or some atheist wont get a ear bashing from her. I think you've lost the battle but not the war. Well done.
I'm not beating myself up at all. This was just a public service anouncement. I also tried to do as little as possible myself and keep my distance - it is generally not good for a dirty old man to be involved with someone this young and fragile for many reasons, no matter how altruistic the intent. I'm sure the psychologists out there would agree. I just picked up on the fact that this one was a genuine broken unit early on and needed some special consideration. I tried to get the girls more involved - and a few did what they could, which was not much in the end. It was only towards the end she began PMing me and we had some lengthy chats - that's why I put together this post. It's basically a case of Stockholm Syndrome I feel. Just wanted to share with the group. It can be oh so much harder to escape than a lot of us think.
Oh crapspackle. She looked like she was going so well!
But she spoke to me a lot about how she wanted a boyfriend, so I can't really say I'm surprised. I will try to get in touch again through every other method I can, see if I can at least give her support. If I lived close enough to drive I would go see her.

Jackie: Me and Jo are in NZ - Felch is across the ditch in Australia. While we're very similar culturally in some ways, we're very different in others. The fact of the matter is, here in NZ the religious folks may TRY to control things but they never manage, and they wont. Our government has declared itself free of religion on many issues and the remains of cultural christianity in the protocols (ie opening prayers) are kept out of some kind of respect for our most assuredly cultural-christian-history and being too lazy to bother changing things that don't really matter.

Which is not to say that folk like that don't have their own power where they create it. In small communities, in churches, in families, yes, people like that have that kind of power. But not over anyone except the people in those groups.

So we can safely mourn the loss from this community without needing to bring politics into it. We can mourn losing Jo without feeling like we've lost a desperately needed unit in a war. We've lost someone who might have become a friend, and lost her to a place that we feel is bad for her. And I really think that that is bad enough.


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